How did you celebrate your birthday? Willow Valley Communities’ resident Heide Moebius ran the 26.2 mile “Authentic” Greek Marathon one day after her 80th birthday on November 11. Placing 13,645 out of 18,570 other runners from 106 other countries, she left behind over 5,000 competitors. But most notably, Heide placed second of eight in the 75+ age group with a chip time of 5:59:07.
Her husband, Richard Moebius, coaches his wife in her running and accompanied her on the trip to Greece. He says if there had been an 80+ designated group at the marathon, Heide would have come in her “usual” first place. Interestingly, the couple shares the same birthday, November 10, with Richard having just celebrated his 89th.
Heide describes the marathon as “fantastic” with beautiful, warm weather; however, she advises, “If you want a personal record for a marathon, do not do this one! It is very difficult, with a 12 mile uninterrupted hill in the middle of it.”
As difficult as Heide describes the run, she still says she felt “very good” during and after it. The Moebiuses traveled to Greece with six running friends from Lancaster, with three of them running the marathon with her. Heide enjoyed the camaraderie during and after the race. Afterwards, the group enjoyed a celebratory dinner in Athens together.
Though athletic most of her life, Heide began running at the age of 55. She says she kept up with it because, “My body likes it and I’m good at it.” To date, she has completed 714 races, including 100 half marathons and 10 marathons. She’s completed the Boston Marathon and countless other well-known races worldwide. Heide has won 88% of her races in her age group over her 25 year running career.
Other highlights of Heide’s running career include:
- Finished the Boston Marathon as 11th U.S. Female Senior, 2002
- Fifth worldwide Female Senior, Stockholm Marathon, 2005
- “Runner of the Year,” Lancaster Road Runners Club, 2008
- Fifth fastest World: 1500M – 6:57, at the National Senior Games in Palo Alto, CA,2009
- Holds a still standing world record: 12K record for age group 70-75 from Alexandria, VA: 1:05:007, 2014
- Lancaster Newspapers names Heide Moebius Day in 2015
- Honorary Chairperson of the Lancaster Senior Games for 2018
Heide has donated many of the trophies that she has won throughout her career to schools for them to use as awards for their student competitions.
The traditional story of the history of marathon running relates that Pheidippides (530–490 BC), an Athenian courier who was sent to Sparta to request help when the Persians landed at Marathon, Greece. He ran about 240 km (150 mi) in two days. He then ran the 40 km (25 mi) from the battlefield near Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory over Persia in the Battle of Marathon (490 BC) with the words, “We win!” He then collapsed and died.
Watch a video interview of Heide by Susan Shapiro of WGAL-TV8: 80-year-old marathoner leaves competitors in the dust